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Spring 2004 | Volume 26, Number 6 | Features

Global Picks

Rick Steves’ Surprising Choices for World Travel

Best mode of travel
“Seat of my pants. Actually, taxi, airplane or bicycle — whatever is most efficient at the time.”

Two countries he’s crazy about
Bali and Thailand. “Bouncing cross-country in Thailand in a Jeep with no windshield, with bugs bouncing off your teeth, with guys out of a Star Wars bar scene — that’s travel.”

Where he would take his next tour, if he had the choice
“Personally, I like traveling in Russia, but it’s hard to get my readership to go along.”

Country with most interesting cuisine
“Japan. Every few hours, I take a dipstick to see if I have any more room for the great food.”

Best way to tell a great local restaurant from a tourist mecca
“The local restaurant has a handwritten menu in the local language and just a few items, market-fresh. Locals are sitting there, not tourists.”

Best way to tell a great hotel
“It’s family-run, centrally located and doesn’t cost too much. Don’t spend your money on a fancy hotel. The next day, with the money you saved, you can hire a private guide to show you around, and you’ll get a great education.”

Best times on a Europe Through the Back Door tour
“On Sundays, I would cultivate and encourage times to be quiet together and reflect on what it meant to be in a different part of the world. I called it Back Door Fellowship. I’d encourage my staff to allow time for that on their tours as well. People appreciated that. It kept the tours from becoming superficial.”

Three places he would like to know more about
Budapest, Poland and Nicaragua. “These places would offer me a steep learning curve.”

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